Dallas Cowboys (0-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
I was expecting the Cowboys to be a lot better this season because of improved health, namely the return of quarterback Dak Prescott and his top-3 offensive linemen from injuries that cost them significant portions of last season, but the Cowboys have once again been affected by significant absences. Dominant right guard Zack Martin missed the opener with COVID and, while he will be back for week two, the Cowboys will be without talented right tackle La’El Collins, starting wide receiver Michael Gallup, and their top-2 edge rushers DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory this week, all key absences for this team.
This line has adjusted though, moving off of an even field goal up to 3.5 this week. That might not seem like a big deal, but about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal and +3.5 covers more often than any spread as a result. The Chargers are a bit of an overrated team, as three of their last eight wins have come by four points or fewer, with the exceptions coming against the 1-15 Jaguars, the 2-14 Jets, and the Chiefs’ backups, and the Chargers are dealing with their own injury issues, without top cornerback Chris Harris, starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, and starting defensive tackle Justin Jones this week, so this line seems about right, favoring the Chargers at home by 3.5.
The Chargers have limited homefield advantage and this crowd will likely mostly be Cowboys fans, but the Chargers do have a clear talent edge right now, so this is exactly where my calculated line is. With that in mind, I am going to take the Cowboys, only because they are in a better spot, with the Chargers set to face the Chiefs next week, making this an obvious look ahead spot. There isn’t enough here to bet on it, but a field goal game either way seems most likely and taking the +3.5 covers in both instances.
Los Angeles Chargers 30 Dallas Cowboys 27
Pick against the spread: Dallas +3.5